On Playa Grande, low tide pushes the surfers back to sleepy verandas and re-hydration missions while the locals come out to enjoy the high sun. Kaleidoscopic kites soar. Sun lotion is lathered on bronzed skin. The famous modesty of Central America is nowhere evident in the choice of swimwear.
The unmistakable silhouette of a three-legged dog approaches. The puppy has recently lost his back left limb. He can keep up his unpracticed, awkward hop for a few metres but he quickly tires, and starts to drag his hip across the packed white sand. His focus: a length of shipworm-riddled driftwood in the hand of his owner.
For the Germans, it was like going to a party, giving a present to the hostess and then being asked to leave. In the late 1700s, Catherine the Great, also of German heritage, invited them to settle in the Volga Valley of Russia and set up a new life. 25,000 immigrants did just that and set up over one hundred villages, building a successful agricultural trade. A few generations later, they went back on their word.
From the sky, even the most well-trained pilot gets a jolt of adrenaline: a landing strip the length of a jetliner flanked on three sides by 60-foot rock faces that dropped into the ocean and steep, green hills on the far side that swept up into a 3,000-foot mountain. Landing would require the pilot to soar directly for the cliffs before swerving left to reach the tarmac.
The novelty of the volcanic island of Saba’s first aircraft landing in 1959 was met with crowds gathered for pomp and celebration, but what would soon expand into the Juancho Yrausquin Airport did little to change the quaint Caribbean life of Saba, which had just welcomed its first motor vehicle to the island’s winding roads in 1947. Saba remained relatively unscathed by tourism even after the airport began officially servicing 12-minute flights to and from the nearby islands of St. Maarten and St. Eustatius. The sea, after all, has historically been the main locus of transportation for the islanders, whose ancestors were pirates and ship builders, sea captains and purveyors of shellfish to neighboring provinces.
For a span of nearly three hundred years before the harrowingly short Juancho E. Yrausquin landing strip was built, Saban sailors and the occasional outsider faced the task of climbing 800 stone steps from the ocean to reach flat land. Today, whether visitors arrive at Saba’s rocky cliffs by sea or by sky, it’s decidedly a place not to be stumbled upon, but sought out.
There are just over 15,000 black bears roaming the rugged 215,000-acre state forest in Lycoming County, established in the 1700s in the heart of the Keystone State. Though bear hunting is legal in more than half of U.S. states, hunters from all over drive to the Tiadaghton State Forest to pursue the ultimate game trophy — a black bear. They have five days to kill one. It’s illegal to use bait or dogs in Pennsylvania, so hunters use their own dexterity in the woods. Many will take their .270 Winchester center fire rifles and .35 Remington bullets and post. They’ll trek up the mountainside in the backcountry and post, waiting for a fleeting opportunity to shoot a black bear. Post for days until the one opportunity a black bears crosses their sight line. It’s how Pennsylvania hunters hunt. In 2012, 3,632 bears were harvested, the third highest record in the state. Each year, hope grows for a bigger haul. Hunting as hobby travel is common in the fall when the weather gets colder and the evenings grow longer. Cabins are rented and guides lead groups of sportsmen into the depths of the forest from dawn until dusk. Hunters wade through swamps and harsh thickets with no guarantee of an ending reward. However, many travel to the eastern side of Pennsylvania, for five days, just to say they’ve been on a hunt for the black bear.
Photo by Benjamin Reed
This story is a retelling of a traditional folktale from Ethiopia.
The forest outside our village was ruled by the king of the hyenas, and for years we all lived in fear of the trees, when at night we could hear the slobbering howls of his subjects and see the pale yellow eyes glaring through the shadows.
To capitalize on American drug habits, no idea is too far-fetched. Cartels have built tunnels under the border, used steel ramps to drive 4x4s over barriers separating the US and Mexico, and have even resorted to firing packets of marijuana across the desert using T-shirt cannons. But when it comes to wild, lucrative and wildly lucrative schemes, nothing matches the Cali Cartel’s successful plan from the early 1990s to load millions of dollars of cocaine into submarines and send the drugs underwater between Colombia and Mexico.
Part I: Bus to Delhi
In this moment of bias,
as another city I leave behind faints
like a dazed beggar;
as the maroon monks
I sit beside
talk of god
knows what —
The jewels of Nagarjuna?
Life in general?
I see the life I’ve been leading
has a little less tact
than I’d thought.
Who I am?
Where am I?
When will I ever grow up?
I’m living in India now but India
remains a mystery;
remain a mystery.
Far away my country commits suicide
but I feel no obligation
to pay the taxes
to pretend it’s not.
And my mind?
My mind is functioning sleekly,
my problems aren’t there.
Let it burn. Focus
on the faces immediately around you, on the ashes
in your every breath.
Part II: Upon Returning to Jogibara
Back in my room I open the glowing rectangle to check the news
and the jewelry of it deafens me.
on the brink.
The world I grew up in,
now only glimpsable through the web
is so foreign.
The days back there
just seem to hang there
like lynched men,
and the minutes
never seem able
to be divided
I close the glowing rectangle and go outside
to smoke a cigarette in my hammock and look up
The whole town’s electricity winks
off and on.
The moon hovers up from the mountains’ lowest hump.
comes to its end